Sunday, July 31, 2011

SHOWDOWN ON CAPITAL HILL! - Another Staring Contest…Which Party Will Blink First?

I gotta be honest with you…I love this shit! 

The theoretical headlines alone get me semi-erect! Debt ceiling disaster looming! Will default apocalypse be stymied at the zero hour?! Will the partisan Mexican standoff give way to historic bi-partisan deficit reduction deal?! Or will the financial universe implode into a black hole that swallows every dollar, renminbi and euro in the international marketplace?

I have no fucking idea what will happen!

And right now it’s anybody’s ballgame!

Love it, hate it, laud it, mourn it…either way, this whole fucking mess has been political theatre at its best…irrefutable proof that our two-party system is both broken and functioning exactly as it should. I realize that statement is mildly paradoxical so I’ll elaborate.

Yes, our parties don’t like each other and yes, they are diametrically opposed forces…so who can blame them for butting heads, biting and pulling hair when it comes to ironing out the wrinkles in comprehensive legislation, especially ones pertaining to fiscal policy.

And perhaps it is proof positive of an efficient democracy that the only laws that get passed are the ones that both parties loathe. If the two parties can swallow their ideologies, wipe their asses with their talking points and compromise, maybe that is evidence that the system works…eventually.

However, is this what it takes to prove that? Months of political grandstanding, hurling hyperboles from across the isle, positioning each party in a manner that will cast any catastrophic blame solely at the feet of the opposition, refusing to give an inch until it becomes feasible that such rigidity might hurt them come November 2012? And then, after all the name-calling, after the DOW and NASDAQ have already been bum-rushed, battered and bruised, after the rest of the world joins in mocking our inability to get a goddamn thing done, only after all of that…can a deal actually be made. Well, that is where the problem lies.

CNN has had a countdown clock to the Deficit Default ticking for several days now. ESPN does the same thing for the Superbowl. The promos are already flooding the networks:


Like, I said…I love this shit!

But many people do not share my appreciation for the theatrics. The stock market certainly does not. And with the world watching, it does not help our public image to have all this juvenile finger-pointing, especially with nimrods like Nancy Pelosi lambasting the Republicans for “Going to the dark side.” Really Nancy? I’d say that she’s better than that, but let’s be honest, she really isn’t. Her own party fucking hates her for Christ’s sake.

"Use the Force Barrack!"
And this is exactly the type of bullshit that draws out and unnecessarily muddies the waters of the political process. There is nothing wrong with the GOP sounding off against the Dems for their desire to increase tax revenue and likewise with the Dems’ insistence that revenue increases accompany spending cuts. These are legitimate ideological differences. But likening the opposing party to Darth Vader is just silly. Yes, it makes for a catchy sound bite but it does not, in any way, facilitate resolution to what is a serious situation with possibly catastrophic financial ramifications.

But must it come down to this every fucking time? I understand the game…each side is gonna fight for every inch of their agenda. That’s what we want them to do, that’s why we elect them. And neither side will blink until it absolutely must. But at some point, pragmatism has to prevail and does that point always have to be when the final seconds are ticking off the shotclock?

Apparently, yes. Because when Obama tacks too far to the center, the far left castrates him and independents castigate him. When Boehner drifts even remotely away from the extreme right, the Tea Party blowhards pistol-whip him into recanting and modifying his position so that it fits snuggly within the confines of their ultra-conservative agenda. And then he cries about it…quite literally.

So what does it say when our two parties’ highest officials cannot get anything done? Is that a reflection of their inadequacies as leaders or our system’s inefficiencies? Maybe both. Maybe neither.

But here we are, just as we were with the budget deal last April that at the very last possible moment, averted a government shutdown. Congress hustled into the wee hours and ironed out a deal that made everyone nauseous. But they swallowed hard and the country lived to limp into a marred but slightly less ambiguous future.

But with a situation like this, who do we blame and who do we celebrate if the deal is finally struck? Did the system work? Or did our elected officials simply call ‘Uncle’? Is this impending deal the best option or the only one that could possibly be extracted from this clusterfuck of partisan vitriol? Who’s the hero in this battle and who’s the villain? Who’s the champ and who’s the chump?

If the deal that is rumored to be on the table is the one that goes through, the bleeding hearts will say Obama has sold out once again, acquiescing to the demands of a hostile House that is hell-bent on cutting both fat and flesh off our government and its entitlement programs. The Tea Partiers will hurl their bibles and patriotic rhetoric at Boehner for spearheading a deal that had the temerity to actually attempt to restore the tax code to what it was before George W. Bush buttfucked it into oblivion. If NO increase in tax revenue is included in the deal, I will personally be considerably peaved.

And then there are the centrists…the realists and pragmatists who somehow are able to find sunshine throughout all the noise. Maybe they will say that this deal is dogshit…but it’s also for the best. And maybe they will be right.

Because our fiscal future as it was yesterday, was not sustainable. Our treasured entitlement programs simply can not continue as they were. Our debt could not continue to escalate at its present rate, especially with a hobbled GDP crawling beside it in lockstep. It needed to be reined in and yes, we need to both increase tax revenue and cut spending to accomplish this.

So hopefully by tomorrow at some point before midnight, Congress will strike a deal. And we will all once again be grateful that our system works…even though it truly sucks.